Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Women Rule Hardcover Fiction, Politics Then and Now, Three Hot Hanukkah Gifts, Which Books are Connecting at Our Presentations, Plus the "Journal Sentinel" Book Reviews.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Stella Bain, by Anita Shreve
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
4. The Valley of Amazement, by Amy Tan
5. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

Women sweep the top five for the second week in a row, and look at that, Little, Brown has a near sweep, with only Amy Tan sneaking from Ecco. I realized that as I've been doing my book talks, most recently at the Shorewood Public Library on Saturday, that my recommendations from male writers are also a bit thin. I need some gender diversity here. I'm hoping the James McBride, with his National Book Award win for The Good Lord Bird, will break up the girls club next week.Here's a link in The Huffington Post to Donna Tartt's interview on the CBS Morning News.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Unintimidated, by Scott Walker with Marc Thiessen
2. Wonder of Wonders, by Alisa Solomon
3. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
4. Proof of Heaven, deluxe edition, by Eben Alexander
5. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
6. My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit
7. Driven, by Donald Driver
8. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
9. The Pfister Hotel, by Jordan and Filter
10. Heretics and Heroes, by Thomas Cahill

Hardcover nonfiction is where the action is during the holiday season, at least with the adult titles. Alisa Solomon and Ari Shavit are definitely the Hanukkah gifts of choice, while locals like Governor Scott Walker, whose Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge came out Tuesday, Sanford D'Amato, Donald Driver (the Milwaukee partial claims on the Packers go back to the days when they played several games a year at County Stadium), and the Pfister Hotel book all turn local heads. Here's Scott Walker in the Wisconsin State Journal talking about whether this is a campaign book. He says no, but he's also become head of the Republican Governors Association, another clue to his aspirations.

For those of you still deciding whether to tackle Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit, here's a link to Frank Davies' positive review in the Miami Herald,while in The Washington Post, Heather Cox Richardson notes that journalists, not presidents, hold the key to reform, just like they did in the day of Roosevelt and Taft.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
2. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
3. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
4. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
5. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

It's almost time for me to read The Round House for our in-store lit group meeting on Monday, December 2, 7 pm. As last year's National Book Award winner, I should be able to gather a lot of source material, like this interview in The New York Times with John Williams.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. A Tale of Two Soldiers, by Max Gendelman (back in stock!)
2. Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander
3. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
4. My Life with the Green and Gold, by Jessie Garcia
5. How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough

Four ex-eventers dominate the top five--could this mean that Allie Brosh is in our future? Not to my knowledge, but I guess we can dream. We sold out of Mr. Gendelman's book at Nina Edelman's talk, but we have stock back for folks who are still looking for a Hanukkah gift. Or Christmas too--we had a broad audience of folks, with a lot of folks interested in World War II. In a way, the story of A Tale of Two Soldiers is a real life version of Simon Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness.

Books for Kids:
1. Seven Wonders Volume 1: The Colossus Rises, by Peter Lerangis
2. Seven Wonders Volume 2: Lost in Babylon, by Peter Lerangis
3. Nature Girl, by Jane Kelley
4. The Girl Behind the Glass, by Jane Kelley
5. The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya, by Jane Kelley
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Volume 8: Hard Luck, by Jeff Kinney
7. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
8. The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak
9. Cinders, by Jan Brett
10. Squirrels on Skis, by J. Hamilton Ray and Pascal Lemaitre

I had to expand our top five here because two events dominated the top five, edging out very substantial sales from non-event titles. We just heard from J. Hamilton Ray, thanking us for inclusion in the blog and Woman's Club book talk. I just picked up the cue from Jane. Now we even have a brush squirrel ornament display, featuring not only Squirrels on Skis, but also Flora and Ulysses. I thought foxes would be hot (and they are, on the pop music charts), but this seems to be quite the popularity battle between woodland creatures.

I will say that I sold 4 copies of The Day the Crayons Quit at my Shrorewood Public Library talk yesterday, definitely the big hit of the morning. I only brought two, so another attendee headed to the store to buy two more. 

So what's being reviewed in the Journal Sentinel today? Jim Higgins immerses himself in Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion. He notes how Robert Gordon "chronicles the growth of Stax (and later its sister label, Volt) from a modest garage studio in 1957 to a hit-making Southern counterpart to Motown — and through its decline and bankruptcy in 1975."

Well hullaballoo! Here is Joan Frank on Ann Patchett's This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is available on the Journal Sentinel website. Frank offers an opinion on why Patchett is so beloved: "Patchett's is a no-nonsense voice: clear, sane, companionable. Readers trust her, and these essays (though some feel slight) won't disappoint her fans."

And Nisi Shaw's review of Nicola Griffith's Hild also appears in the Journal Sentinel today.  It's a historical, based on the life of a real medieval saint. Shawl writes "It's the book's sheer beauty that will most astonish readers...Griffith's telling of Hild's adventures offers us something far better than mere comfort: the lure of the sublime."

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